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Victorians could see an early start to bushfire season

1 June 2023

Parts of Victoria experienced a wetter than normal autumn, but the forecast for winter is drier with warmer conditions than average, according to the Australian Seasonal Bushfire Outlook for winter, released today.

Victoria’s southwest saw above average rainfall in autumn, and three consecutive years of La Nina has resulted in wetter soils across the state. However, reduced rainfall and above average temperatures over the next three months could result in drier than average soil by late winter, when El Nino conditions are anticipated to develop. Victoria is currently at El Nino Watch status.

While Victoria is now in the lower-risk period for bushfires, we know that from winter to early spring can often see development of east coast lows, with the chance of localised heavy rainfall and damaging winds across eastern parts of Victoria.

Emergency services remain well prepared and will continue to monitor any emerging risks including the potential for an earlier start to bushfire season.

The emergency management sector is continuing its preparedness activities with statewide briefings and state-level exercising, including community-centred scenario exercises. Incident management personnel are doing all they can to prepare for emerging risks and respond to any emergencies.

The Australian Seasonal Bushfire Outlook for winter is developed by Australasian Fire and Emergency Services Authorities Council and supported by the Bureau of Meteorology along with State and Territory fire and land managers.

It’s important for communities to understand their local risks. You can also keep up to date with the Fire Danger Ratings on the VicEmergency App and VicEmergency website, where local flood guides are also available.

Quotes attributable to Acting Emergency Management Commissioner Amanda Leck

“Victoria’s emergency management sector continues to undertake exercising to ensure that emergency management personnel are prepared for all emergencies to keep the Victorian community safe.

“It’s important for communities to also understand what their risks are, too, and plan accordingly. Now is a good time to download the VicEmergency app and know who your local emergency broadcaster is. You can also access your local floods guides through the VicEmergency website.

“Staying safe – no matter what time of year – is a shared responsibility between emergency services and the community, and we all have a role to play.”

Quotes attributable to Country Fire Authority Acting Chief Officer Garry Cook

“Despite years of wetter than average weather, Victoria is still one of the most bushfire-prone areas in the world and CFA is continuing its work with partner agencies throughout the cooler months to keep every Victorian safe this fire season.

“Our crews are working hard to identify areas with high levels of vegetation and fire risk to deliver targeted fuel reduction activities in partnership with land managers.

“Fire safety is a shared responsibility, and our people are continuing to engage with communities to help them plan and prepare for hotter summers and more dangerous fire seasons.”

Quotes attributable to Forest Fire Management Victoria Chief Fire Officer Chris Hardman

“Our number one priority is to protect life, property and the environment from the risk of bushfires especially as we leave the wet La Nina years behind and move towards hotter and drier fire seasons.

“We are boosting our workforce with 50 new, ongoing forest firefighters in addition to our annual intake of several hundred seasonal firefighters, who will work alongside our permanent firefighting staff to deliver bushfire prevention and suppression activities including planned burning.

“This winter, we’re also completing our network of 1,500 kilometres of strategic fuel breaks which reduces bushfire risk to communities, water catchments and the environment by making it easier, faster and safer for firefighters to respond to fires on public land.”

Quotes attributable to Victoria State Emergency Service Chief Officer Tim Wiebusch

“As we come out of autumn and enter a period of direr than average conditions with a reduced flood risk, it is important for Victorians to take the time now, and prepare themselves and their properties, as the risk of severe storms and localised flooding can occur during winter including development of east coast lows.

“Lessons learnt from the October 2022 Floods, showed us the importance of preparing well before a storm or flood event sets in. Some things you can be doing now include assembling an emergency kit, getting to know your neighbours, downloading the VicEmergency app to stay up to date with the latest emergency advice messaging, and contributing to or joining your local VICSES unit – now is the time to prepare.”


Emergency Management Victoria via the State Control Centre: 1300 287 289 or